Play Ball

A rendition of the Star Spangled Banner is played prior to the start of Memorial Day games.  This performance is coordinated by musical director Big Maude.  Previous performers have included James "The Fourth Tenor" Rinto, Jesse "Electric Boogaloo" Baker, Wilhelm, and Maude herself who, in addition to being a dependable first baseman, is also a classically trained Baritone player.  

The earliest connection between "The Star Spangled Banner" and baseball dates to May 15th, 1862, when a band is thought to have played the tune at the opening of the Capitalene Grounds in New York.  The first verified account, however, comes in 1918 when a New York Times game report mentions the playing of the song prior to a World Series game between the Yankees and the Cubs.  The report notes that "players and fans stood in civilian salute with most holding their caps over their hearts."  

The Game I Love 
    by John McCluskey

The days I miss of the game I love,
early Spring, my Mazeroski glove,

my baseball cards, clothespins, spokes;
on Saturdays, I'd tell my folks

that afternoons I must be gone;
I'd race to where the Kelly's lawn

met the endless St Jude's field,
where heavy lumber kids would wield,

where muddy balls were tossed around
and mitts were left upon the ground

when innings changed, so we could share
(there weren't enough for all out there).

But we played those days with all our might
til calls to dinner brought the night

(in summer, though, we might return
with bellies full, more fuel to burn).

Baseball then was everything -
you played it, watched it, had cards to bring

down the street to show your friends,
to trade your doubles, though it depends

upon the cards your buddies had
and their condition: good or bad.

Some trades you made, improved your stack,
those yesterdays that won't be back.

My springtime heart's forever full of
the days I miss of the game I love